Pietersen: Stick with Kieswetter
Kevin Pietersen told Sky Sports News England should keep faith with struggling opener Craig Kieswetter in one-day cricket.
Last Updated: 13/07/10 5:16pm
Kevin Pietersen has urged England to keep faith with Craig Kieswetter in one-day cricket despite the Somerset batsman-wicketkeeper's recent poor form.
Kieswetter, born and raised in South Africa, enjoyed immediate success as an opener after being fast-tracked into England's limited-overs set-up when he became eligible in February.
A maiden ODI century in Bangladesh was followed by a man-of-the-match display in the final of the World Twenty20 against Australia in the Caribbean in May, England's maiden success at a global International Cricket Council tournament.
But he has found runs tougher to come by in juicier English conditions, averaging just 15 in eight innings during the recent NatWest Series wins over Australia and Bangladesh.
Pietersen, who also left his native South Africa to further his career in England, believes Kieswetter is worth persevering with - particularly with one eye on the 2011 World Cup in the Asian subcontinent.
"It's really difficult coming into the England team, and also playing in England," Pietersen told Sky Sports News.
"One-day cricket playing in England, especially as an opening batsman, is really, really difficult.
"Away from England in conditions that don't swing, don't seam, he (Kieswetter) is a fearless player and we saw that in the Caribbean.
"I really hope that we stick by him because he is fearless and his approach to batting away from England is something that will work for us.
"It is very difficult in England when the ball swings and seams and he may be getting found out but he is a young player and I promise he really, really loves playing for England, as most people do, and he is desperate to do well.
"He is maybe putting too much pressure on himself at the moment but I think he is a fantastic player; the way he played in the Caribbean and I batted with him and the stuff he was saying, batting together and the partnerships, was brilliant.
"I hope we stick with him because I think he can be one of the players of the tournament at the next World Cup."
England team director Andy Flower, meanwhile, has warned Kieswetter he must work hard to become a "stronger package".
"He's had an interesting time of it recently, scoring a hundred in his third ODI, getting man of the match in the World Twenty20 final, being a World Cup winner," said Flower.
"A lot of English players haven't had that, so he's up there doing that and achieving things but then he's had a bit of a hard one-day series.
"I think international cricket can do that to you. It can teach you some lessons and perhaps expose a few doubts.
"I think in the long run for Craig it might be a very healthy thing to have happened, in that by the time he plays for England again, he'll need to make his package stronger.
"There are a number of things he can learn from the last nine one-day internationals, and it is his job and his responsibility to go away, work hard with Somerset and come back a stronger package."